The 2014 Louisiana pro-life law that requires abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges has long been contested by pro-abortion groups. In January 2019, the Fifth Circuit upheld the law in a 2-1 decision, yet it is now before the Supreme Court on appeal. Facing a potentially momentous Supreme Court decision, pro-abortion activists in the media have been working overtime to shape the narrative about the law with disinformation and outright deceptions.
Most recently, HuffPost published a piece by Lydia O’Connor, claiming that a 2014 Louisiana pro-life law requiring abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges is “based on a lie.” Yet her article offers nothing more than flawed arguments and appeals to dubious sources.
To support her claim, O’Connor heavily cites the opinions of an abortionist with a vested interest in the case’s outcome: Dr. Bhavik Kumar. O’Connor paraphrased the abortionist, writing, “[C]omplications are almost always manageable in a clinic, Kumar said, and in the rare instances that they aren’t, patients would be admitted to a hospital for emergency care with or without a law requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges.”
But not only does Kumar, as an abortionist, have a clearly biased stance on the issue, but — as even O’Connor notes — he is medical director for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, the operator of two abortion facilities in Louisiana which would be threatened under the law. And Kumar’s association with Whole Woman’s Health makes him even less credible as a voice for the interests of women. As Live Action News has shown, the notoriously dangerous abortion facility chain in Texas has been cited over a dozen times in 2018 alone for a variety of serious sanitation, health, record-keeping, personnel, procedural, and overall safety deficiencies. Kumar’s Austin location, in particular, was cited for failure to ensure a safe and sanitary environment, as well as failure to protect the health and safety of staff, to implement and enforce written policies governing the facility’s operation, and failure to provide a patient with the name and telephone of the nearest hospital in case of emergency.
O’Connor also cites a study by the National Academies to support her argument against the Louisiana law. She asserts the study “found ‘no evidence indicating that clinicians that perform abortions require hospital privileges to ensure a safe outcome for the patient.’”
Yet the National Academies study’s six financiers all — without exception — are pro-abortion foundations with deep ties and vested interest in the legalized abortion industry. The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, as Live Action News has shown (here and here), have invested heavily in a wide range of pro-abortion initiatives. The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation has given more than a billion dollars to various pro-abortion groups. The JPB Foundation has donated millions to Planned Parenthood in recent years. The Tara Foundation aggressively pushes for expansion of abortion access, as Live Action News has reported. And the Grove Foundation not only funds Planned Parenthood, but has close ties to abortion trainers and industry insiders.
Ignoring the risks to women does not make abortion safer
Even more than using deeply biased sources, the substance of O’Connor’s arguments is flawed. She claims that Louisiana’s admitting privileges requirement is “based on the falsehood that abortion is a dangerous procedure.” The overall thrust of the article is that abortion has no serious risks, and certainly none that cannot easily be managed by an abortion facility. Thus, in O’Connor’s narrative, pro-life attempts to require abortionists to have admitting privileges are absurd and just an attempt to restrict a “safe” procedure.
The tragic reality is that women’s lives are indeed endangered at the hands of abortionists — a fact that journalists like O’Connor in the media almost never report. The risks and potential complications of abortion are real, and real women suffer every year from serious complications, including, as Live Action News has reported, women who have died at the hands of abortionists while undergoing legal abortions. The list includes Keisha Atkins, Lakisha Wilson, Tonya Reaves, Cree Sheppard, Jennifer Morbelli, Christin Gilbert, Jamie Lee Morales, and countless more.
When it comes to protecting women’s health, abortionists in Louisiana have a poor track record. As Americans United for Life (AUL) detailed in its amicus curiae brief, filed at the Supreme Court, “Louisiana abortion clinics—including Plaintiff June Medical Services—have a long history of serious health and safety violations.” The AUL brief lists a sampling of health and safety violations received by Louisiana’s three remaining abortion facilities. As for June Medical Services, the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case, the abortion facility’s violations are numerous within each of the following categories:
1) “substandard patient care”;
2) “unsanitary, expired, missing, or improperly stored instruments, medications, and medical supplies”;
3) “missing facility licenses; unlicensed or uncredentialed medical staff providing patient care”;
4) “incomplete, inaccurate, and untimely patient medical records and state mandated reports.”
In light of all this, O’Connor’s argument that admitting privileges laws are “based on lies” is just wrong. As the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) pointed out in an amicus brief filed for a related case, it comes down to common sense and good medical practice: “[A]dmitting privileges ensure physician competency and continuity of care, enhance inter-physician communication and complication management, and support the ethical duty not to abandon patients.”
Ultimately, pro-lifers have the best interests of women at heart by enacting laws like in Louisiana. As March for Life president Jeanne Mancini said, according to Angelus News, “Abortion activists are more than willing to lower the bar on women’s health in order to expand abortion, but stricter clinic regulations are in the best interest of women.”
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